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In a joint statement on 7 February 2023 the defence ministers of Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands announced the joint delivery of at least 100 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks (MBTs), including the necessary logistical support and training, to Ukraine.

According to the statement circulated by the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg), the Leopard 1A5s will be made available after being overhauled from industrial stocks. The first ones are to be delivered in a few months.

The initiative will contribute to a substantial and sustainable strengthening of the Ukrainian armed forces and will complement the efforts already underway to support Ukraine with Leopard 2 MBTs.

Earlier the BMVg and Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action officially announced the export licence to German defence companies for up to 178 Leopard 1A5 MBTs for Ukraine. The underlying decision of the German government to deliver the tanks had already become known on 3 February. The final number of tanks to be delivered depends on the necessary maintenance work, according to the BMVg. The financing and repair of the tanks, as well as the training of Ukrainian military personnel on their operation, will be carried out in close co-ordination with Germany’s European partner countries.

The delivery and training schedule for the Leopard 1A5s is not yet available, but during his visit to Kiev on 7 February German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced the delivery of about 20 Leopard 1A5 MBTs would take place by the middle of the year, with another 40 tanks following later in the year. The total number of over 100 tanks should be delivered by the first quarter of 2024, he said. According to Pistorius, this would allow three to four tank battalions to be equipped.

Gerhard Heiming